The Four Judgments.
There are four Basic types of judgment in Acim.
The question is then whether “to judge or not to judge”; and the obvious answer seems to be that we should not judge. But that is the wrong answer. The right answer is not only should we judge, but there is no way we can avoid judging, because that is what this world is.
The first is the ego’s dream of judgment, based on the idea that we could be separate from God. It is a way of judging God as inadequate. This judgment is based on differences, which are all different forms of attack.
The second kind of judgment does not have a name in the Course, but it is reflected throughout. This is the judgment we make when we look at the ego’s judgment and recognize that all of our thoughts and judgments have had no effect.
The third of judgment is the judgment of the Holy Spirit, discussed most clearly in “The Judgment of the Holy Spirit” (T-12.I) and “The Equality of Miracles” (T-14.X). We are all asked to share this judgment, which sees everyone and everything in this world as either expressing the Love of God or calling for It. There is no attack in this kind of perception.
The fourth judgment the Course speaks about is called the Last Judgment, the Final Judgment, or God’s Judgment (e.g., T-2.VIII; W-pII.10). This judgment occurs at the very end of the process of the Atonement. It states that “what is false is false, and what is true has never changed” (W-pII.10.1:1). This judgment ends the dream entirely. It is the pure expression of the Atonement principle: the separation never happened. Once we have accepted and identified with the judgment of the Holy Spirit, God’s Final Judgment is just a skip away. In the Course’s metaphorical description, God reaches down and lifts us back unto Himself — God’s last step.
I would like to discuss the steps in a little more detail: first, the ego’s dream of judgment; then looking with Jesus at these judgments without feeling guilty, which allows us then to look at everyone in the world as our brother or sister in Christ; and, finally, the end of the process, the Atonement, the recognition that everything in this world is an illusion.
The four judgments;
The first judgment we make ,is the ego’s dream of judgment, based on the idea that we could be separate from God. It is a way of judging God as inadequate. This judgment is based on differences, which are all different forms of attack.
The entire ego thought system began with the initial judgment that came when the “tiny, mad idea” seemed to arise within the mind of God’s Son.
Before that, God and His Son dwelled in Heaven together in a unity so perfect that it would be impossible even to speak of God as a Creator or Source distinct from Christ.
In other words, no differentiation is possible in Heaven. Judgment, of course, is always based on differentiation. All of our judgments entail comparing one person to another, or one series of events to another, or one object to another, etc.
Our entire world of perception rests upon this. That is why there is no perception and no judgment in Heaven.
The Son of God now began to experience himself in relation to — as separate from — his Creator and Source. And he did not experience that relationship in a very nice way.
He saw himself as lacking, with God unfairly having what he did not have, but that he now had the power to steal from God what he believed was coming to him.
And so the Son became the creator and source of life. He became the one who existed on his own.
That was the birth of the ego. In that instant, God became the Son’s effect, for the Son was now God’s cause. The Course refers to this as usurping God’s role.
The Son sets himself up as his own creator, so that God, as He truly is, ceases to exist, at least within the Son’s mind. God is no longer the Source of all Being. The Son now is.
The initial judgment is that there is an unfair or unjust difference between God and me, which leaves me in a state of scarcity or lack.
My ego concludes that I am lacking the creatorship, of being on the throne, because God has deprived me of it.
Therefore I am justified in taking back from God what is rightfully mine.
That is the initial judgment. One of the most crucial things to understand about this initial judgment is that it is based upon differences.
Before the “tiny, mad idea” seemed to arise there was no separated consciousness that could observe, perceive, or think about any differences.
The judgment we all make is that there is a world into which we come, a world within which we experience ourselves, outside our minds, which will exist after we die.
But this entire world is a dream of judgment. It is a dream because it is outside the reality of God’s Mind; and it is a judgment because anything outside God’s Mind must be perceived as different from It — and that is a judgment.
It is impossible for us to exist in this world without these kinds of judgments.
Our world is indeed a world of perception. We all perceive ourselves in relationship to others and to things that are outside us, and Jesus is not saying we should deny that this is our experience.
Near the beginning of the text he says that it is practically impossible to deny our physical experience in this world (T-2.IV.3:10). But he is asking us to look at it differently, as we will see.
The point is that we cannot exist in this world as separated individuals-believing we each have a real body and a personality distinct from other people’s bodies and personalities-and not judge. And we are all very good at denying how much we judge.
And so we are not asked to deny the judgments we make, which is why it is so important to speak about this intervening step between the ego’s dream of judgment and the Holy Spirit’s judgment:
We cannot do anything in this world without judgment, because that is what being in this world is about.
So the answer is not that we should not judge. The answer is that we should learn how to be comfortable with all the judgments we do make, because only then can we move beyond them.
Once we believe we are really here, as I have been saying, we assume that we, and not God, are the creator and source of our own being.
The basic problem is that we first judge ourselves as sinful, This is the birthplace of the original sin, and then we say this is so terrible we will never look at it again.
Then we protect the thought by hiding it from ourselves. The guilt involved is enormous, because the ego tells us we cannot kill God and expect to get off scot-free.
This is the birthplace of our guilt, followed by the terrifying fear that when God catches up with us, He will destroy us. This is now also the Birthplace of fear;
So to protect ourselves from the horror of our guilt that comes from the sin of seizing God’s throne, we all make believe we have not done it. That is the mechanism of denial or repression.
And once we deny something we must project it out. The Birth place of Projection;
The second step of Judgment;
The crucial issue, however, is how to get from the first judgment — the ego’s dream of judgment — to the third judgment — the Holy Spirit’s perception of everything as either an expression of love or a call for love.
Without this intermediate step from first to second, it is impossible ever to know truly what the Holy Spirit’s judgment is about.
One of the mistakes students make when they begin working with the Course is to think it is easy to go from the first to the third type of judgment — from the ego’s judgment of differences, specialness and attack, to the Holy Spirit’s judgment that recognizes everyone as the same, where the only seeming difference is that people either express love or call for it.
Anyone who has worked seriously with A Course in Miracles for a period of time recognizes that it is not easy to shift from our ego judgments to the Holy Spirit’s judgment.
In the first step, we protect the judgment. And as long as we protect the judgment it will never be healed. That is why this second form of judgment is so important.
We have to learn to be aware — not that we are in truth miserable sinners, wretched creatures of specialness who want to destroy everyone — but we believe we are. There is a big difference.
This is the way we see ourselves. But then once having seen ourselves this way, we then deny the thought and put it onto someone else, which means that we are protecting it.
This is what we mean psychologically when we describe someone as being defensive.
A defensive person puts up a wall when something said to him causes him to feel threatened. The person is really saying, “Don’t come near me.
This thought of sin and this judgment that I am making against myself is so raw that I cannot look at it, and I don’t want you looking at it either.”
This is really what it means to be defensive. It is an attitude of protecting the thought that I am a terrible person. This is not how God or Jesus sees us, but it is how we see ourselves.
But if we refuse to recognize what we believe about ourselves, we can never change our minds about that belief.
This is not a course in denial or in making believe that terrible things do not happen in the world, which express the terrible thoughts that go on in the mind of the Son.
Over and over again Jesus uses very strong words such as murder and vicious to describe the ego thought system.
He is not saying this is a wonderful world. How can it be a wonderful world if it was made to escape from God?
How can it be a wonderful world if it serves to protect us so that we never actually look at the underlying dream of judgment, which is unreal but which we believe is real?
The goal of A Course in Miracles is to have us be able to look at these ego thoughts without judgment.
When that judgment is gone, when we can really look at all the hate and specialness in us — the need to be so important, all the demands we make to be treated as if we were important — without judging ourselves or feeling guilty about these thoughts, without being afraid of any kind of punishment, then they will disappear. Because the basic ego thought is unreal.
So the purpose of A Course in Miracles is to have us reach the point where we can truly look at the ego. And when we do, it will disappear as the Course says, back “into the nothingness from which it came . . .” (M-13.1:2).
The Third Step of Judgment;
At that point, the Holy Spirit’s judgment becomes a reality for us. Since we then have only the Love of Christ within us and experience only Jesus’ love for us within our minds, when we look out on the world we see the way he sees.
And we understand, as the text explains, that every attack is really an expression of fear (T-2.VI.7:1).
And underneath the fear is the call for love that has been denied, which means that we now look out on the world and see everyone as either asking for love or expressing love. And so our response is always the same.
Whether you are asking me for love or expressing love to me, as your brother in Christ, I will extend love to you. I will no longer see any differences.
The superficial differences will not matter to me. All that will matter is that you are either calling for love or expressing love.
Then the love in me greets you — my response is always the same. That is the judgment of the Holy Spirit. From there, the Course explains, God reaches down and lifts us back unto Himself as the whole dream disappears.
Again, what allows these third and fourth steps — the Holy Spirit’s judgment and God’s Final Judgment — to occur is this second step of looking without judgment at our ego thought system, with all its ugliness, viciousness, and unkindness?
But we look at it with a smile that says these thoughts have no effect on Who I am, no effect on my relationship with Jesus, and therefore no effect on my relationship with God.
The fourth Step of Judgment;
The fourth judgment the Course speaks about is called the Last Judgment, the Final Judgment, or God’s Judgment (e.g., T-2.VIII; W-pII.10).
This judgment occurs at the very end of the process of the Atonement. It states that “what is false is false, and what is true has never changed” (W-pII.10.1:1).
This judgment ends the dream entirely. It is the pure expression of the Atonement principle: the separation never happened.
Once we have accepted and identified with the judgment of the Holy Spirit, God’s Final Judgment is just a skip away.
In the Course’s metaphorical description, God reaches down and lifts us back unto Himself — God’s last step.